The 90s was an era of country music that will forever be remembered in the annals of history. A wide array of artists from traditional ballads to honky-tonk jams mixed with some crossover hits that defined this decade. Country greats such as George Strait, Alan Jackson, and Clint Black topped the charts and cemented their place as icons in the genre.
Take a trip back to this legendary time with these 60 best 90s country songs- a compilation of enduring favorites!
1. “You’re Still the One” by Shania Twain
This song was aimed to sound less country to make sure it would appeal more to pop audiences – in the hopes of giving Shania Twain a mainstream crossover hit. And they got it right on the first try! The song was Twain’s most successful single release on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 2 for nine non-consecutive weeks.
The song also entered on several charts, not only in the United States but also in several other countries.
2. “She’s in Love With the Boy” by Trisha Yearwood
Trisha Yearwood will make you reminisce about your first love all over again with “She’s in Love with the Boy.”
The song will take you on a teenage couple’s journey who got engaged after the young man proposed to her with his high school “class ring.” Unfortunately, the girl’s father strongly disapproves of the relationship and isn’t afraid to express his judgment. “She’s in Love with the Boy” became Yearwood’s first of many No. 1 hits on the country chart.
3. “The Dance” by Garth Brooks
Released as the tenth and final track from Garth Brooks’ self-titled debut album, “The Dance” was named Song of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in 1990 and was considered by many as the signature song for this ‘90s country artist.
In a Playboy interview from 1994, Brooks stated, “‘The Dance’ will be the greatest success as a song we will ever do. I’ll go to my grave with ‘The Dance.’ It’ll probably always be my favorite song.”
4. “This Kiss” by Faith Hill
Faith Hill once again landed at the top of the charts with her single, “This Kiss,” where it remained in the No. 1 spot for three consecutive weeks. It also helped Hill earn two Grammy Awards nominations – Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song – only to lose both to Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One.”
It was actually the debut single from Hill’s album Faith, which sold over six million units. The song gained even more prominence when it appeared in the 1998 hit movie Practical Magic, which starred Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman.
5. “Go Rest High on That Mountain” by Vince Gill
Vince Gill started writing “Go Rest High on That Mountain” in 1989, after the death of country singer Keith Whitley. However, Gill was only able to finish it after the passing of his older brother Bob, who died due to a heart attack in 1993.
“All I wanted to do was grieve for him and celebrate his life,” Gill said. “That’s how I always process grief—sit down with a guitar and make something up. Turns out that if anybody remembers any of my songs, it’ll be this one.”
The song won a Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1995.
6. “Independence Day” by Martina McBride
Martina McBride is the spokesperson for several domestic abuse charities and has dedicated herself to women and children’s fight against emotional and physically abusive relationships. So, when she released “Independence Day” as the third single from her 1994 album The Way That I Am, it quickly became one of her signature songs.
The powerful ballad tells the tale of a daughter recalling a tragic incident she experienced as a little girl with her abusive father. And one Independence Day, her mother burned down their house and achieved her own independence.
7. “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes
When LeAnn Rimes featured “How Do I Live” on her studio album You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs in 1997, it set the record for the most time in the Billboard Hot 100’s top 5 at twenty-five consecutive weeks. Rimes then held that record for the next two decades.
The song was written by Diane Warren, who penned the ballad specifically with Rimes in mind. However, after Rimes recorded “How Do I Live,” her record label thought she was too young to sing about the song’s subject matter. She was only fourteen then. The company then enlisted Trisha Yearwood to re-record the song, to which she agreed.
8. “Is There Life Out There” by Reba McEntire
This mid-tempo song was released in 1990 as the second single from Reba McEntire’s album For My Broken Heart. It tells the tale of a woman who married early at the age of twenty only to find herself wanting to make a better life for herself outside of her family, wondering, “Is there life out there?”
The song became another No. 1 Hit for McEntire, both in the United States and Canada country charts.
9. “Blue Clear Sky” by George Strait
Although the “Blue Clear Sky” has become synonymous with Strait, it was actually inspired by one particular movie star – it was none other than Tom Hanks, who starred in the blockbuster movie Forrest Gump.
“In the movie, Forrest talks about ‘life is like a box of chocolates.’ And also, he was talking about his girlfriend, Jenny, and how she would come and go out of his life,” says Bob DiPiero, one of its songwriters. “At one point, he says, ‘And out of the blue clear sky, Jenny came back.’ And I was listening, thinking, ‘Hey! It’s ‘clear blue sky,’ it’s not ‘blue clear sky!’ Just that little turn of phrase stuck in my head.” A few months later, the song was a massive hit.
10. “Chattahoochee” by Alan Jackson
Perhaps nothing is more iconic than Alan Jackson’s 1993 hit single, “Chattahoochee,” within his decades-long career and impressive catalog. The song was a massive hit on country radio, reaching No. 1 both in Billboard US Hot Country Songs and Canada Country Tracks charts.
Jackson said they never thought the song would achieve such success. “It’s a song about having fun, growing up, and coming of age in a small town – which really applies to anyone across the country, not just by the Chattahoochee. We never thought it would be as big as it’s become,” the singer said.
11. “I Like It, I Love It” by Tim McGraw
The rowdy track has since become an unofficial sports anthem ever since it was released in 1995 and became a big hit that year. ABC would often play the song during their broadcast of Monday Night Football and was used to celebrate every goal at NHL’s Nashville Predators.
But did you know McGraw almost did not record the song? Luckily, he did listen to it the second time. “And for some reason, it hit me a whole lot different the second time around,” McGraw said. “And then when we went in and cut the track, the track just turned out so fun and so cool that it really didn’t matter how much I liked it anymore after we got to the track because I loved it after that.”
12. “Boot Scootin Boogie” by Brooks & Dunn
When Brooks & Dunn released “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” in 1990 for their album, Keepin’ Me Up Nights, it helped bring back country line dancing into fame throughout the United States. The song tells the tale of a hard-working man who enjoys going to his favorite honky-tonk bar to loosen up and dance, so it’s a natural fit.
“Boot Scootin’ Boogie” is also Brooks & Dunn’s first crossover hit, peaking at No. 50 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
13. “Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus
Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” is one of the 90s country songs that represented the country music craze in the early part of the decade so well. Two decades later, some of us still can’t get the catchy song out of our heads.
The song is actually Cyrus’ debut single released on his 1992 album Some Gave All. It went into several charts, not only in the United States but also in several territories. In fact, it’s the first single ever to reach triple Platinum status in Australia.
14. “Meet in the Middle” by Diamond Rio
Diamond Rio made country music history in 1991 when they became the first country music band to have its debut single reach No. 1 on the chart’s history – thanks to “Meet in the Middle.”
Written by Don Pfrimmer, Chapin Hartford, and Jim Foster, the song tells the tale of friends-turned-lovers who did their best to always meet in the middle and put their differences aside whenever they argue.
15. “I Swear” by John Michael Montgomery
Out of Michael Montgomery’s seven No. 1 hits, this romantic ballad is indeed one of the most memorable. The song was released in 1993 as the lead single off his album Kickin’ It Up, and it hit No. 1 on the United States and Canada country charts. It is also one of Montgomery’s biggest crossover hits, peaking at the No. 42 on the Billboard Hot 100.
As if that wasn’t enough, “I Swear” received both an ACM Award for Single of the Year and an Award for Song of the Year.
16. “Any Man of Mine” by Shania Twain
This is one of the 90s country songs that proved to be a critical and commercial success. It is actually Shania Twain’s first No. 1 hit at country radio and it won several awards like Single of the Year at both the Canadian Country Music Awards and Country Music Radio Awards in 1995.
The song also received two nominations during the 1996 Grammy Awards: Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
17. “Fancy” by Reba McEntire
Reba McEntire plays the part of a poor girl forced to make ends meet in the song “Fancy.” “It’s a rags-to-riches story,” the singer said. “I love rags-to-riches stories. Cinderella, Annie Get Your Gun, all poverty and then make it big in the world.”
Though heartbreaking, the song captivated country fans and remains today as one of her most famous pieces of work.
18. “Check Yes Or No” by George Strait
George Strait managed to beat ’90s country artist, and his hit song “Check Yes Or No” has done the trick.
The song that tells a dreamy love story of two kids falling in love during their childhood became a massive hit in 1995 – climbing to No. 1 on both the US Billboard and Canadian RPM country chart! Up until today, it’s being considered one of the greatest love songs in country music.
19. “Every Light In The House Is On” by Trace Adkins
If you’ve always been a Trace Adkins fan, then perhaps this catchy ballad quickly comes to mind. In the song, Adkins shows his softer side being a brokenhearted man who leaves every light on in his house in the event that his old flame decides to come home.
It was released in 1996 as the second single off Adkins’ debut album Dreamin’ Out Loud and is actually Adkins’ first Top 5 single on Billboard US Hot Country Songs, where it peaked at No. 3
20. “He Didn’t Have to Be” by Brad Paisley
This ’90s country artist brought country fans to tears when he released “He Didn’t Have to Be” in 1999 as the second single off his debut album, Who Needs Pictures. Brad Paisley actually co-wrote the song based on his relationship with his stepson.
“‘He Didn’t Have to Be’ was probably the most life-changing three minutes that I’ve ever written,” Paisley said. “It broke the ice for me with radio. It was like you could see potential in it, and that’s an important thing. I was really lucky, it wasn’t like we knew what we were doing.” The song became his first No. 1 hit in country charts.
21. “Strawberry Wine” by Deana Carter
One of the songwriters revealed that she wrote the song in reference to “Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill – that’s what all the teenagers used to sneak off and drink and get sick on.” The song actually tells the tale of a young girl meeting her first love and compares first love to sweet yet intoxicating fruity wine, giving the song a valid metaphor.
22. “Amazed” by Lonestar
“Amazed” will forever be the signature song for this country music group. Three Nashville songwriters actually joined forces to write this romantic country song and was by far the biggest hit for each.
The song reached No. 1 on the Billboard US Hot Country Songs and held that position for eight consecutive weeks, making it the longest run at No. 1 on the country chart since 1990.
23. “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks
Guess we can all agree that Garth Brooks is the ’90s country singer who shined the most in this decade, and his success in “Friends in Low Places” is just one way to prove it. In addition to spending four weeks on Billboard US Hot Country Songs’ top spot, the song also took home both ACM and CMA awards for 1990 Single of the Year.
Songwriters Earl Bud Lee and Dewayne Blackwell wrote the song and gave it to Brooks when he was still a nameless singer. “I asked Bud Lee and Dewayne if I could hold on to it and, without a blink of an eye, they both said yes. Putting that kind of faith into an unknown artist is unheard of. Thanks, Dewayne and Bud, for believing in me,” Brooks wrote on the CD booklet liner notes.
24. “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” by Kenny Chesney
This ‘90s Country artist finds himself working on a farm, driving his tractor under the heat of summer sun, and attracted to a woman who thinks his tractor’s sexy. Chesney released the flirtatious song in 1999 as the third single off his album Everywhere We Go.
It is accompanied by a music video where Chesney played as a farmer riding on a John Deere tractor.
25. “What Part of No” by Lorrie Morgan
When Lorrie Morgan performed this feisty song during the 11th annual Music City News Country Songwriters Awards, country fans were all impressed that “What Part of No” quickly reached No. 1 on Billboard US Country Songs, holding that position for three weeks.
This is Morgan’s biggest hit single to date.
26. “I Cross My Heart” by George Strait
Among these 90s country songs, George Strait’s “I Cross My Heart” is one of the most successful hits – reaching No. 1 both in the United States and Canada. It was released as a single off his album Pure Country, which also sold over six million copies.
27. “Blue” by LeAnn Rimes
LeAnn Rimes, who was only thirteen years old in 1996, made waves when she released her debut single “Blue.”
Written and originally released by Bill Mack as early as 1958, the song has since been covered by several artists, but it was Rimes’ version that became a massive hit. It took home the Best Female Country Vocal Performance during the 1996 Grammy Awards and helped Mack earn a Grammy Award for Best Country Song as a songwriter that same year.
28. “Better Class of Losers” by Randy Travis
This list of ‘90s Country Songs will never be complete without Randy Travis on it. He released the “Better Class of Losers” in 1991 as the third single off his album High Lonesome, and it peaked at No. 2 in both the United States and Canada country charts.
The song – narrating a man’s perspective who married a woman from high society – was actually co-written by Travis with another country superstar, Alan Jackson.
29. “My Maria” by Brooks & Dunn
In 1996, the most successful country duo released “My Maria” off their album Borderline. The song peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard US Hot Country Songs chart and ended the year as the No. 1 country song on the same chart.
Not only that, the song helped Brooks & Dunn win a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Vocal Group or Duo.
30. “Gone Country” by Alan Jackson
Alan Jackson made some remarks on the country music scene with his 1994 hit single “Gone Country.”
Written by songwriter Bob McDill, Jackson fell in love with the song the first time he heard it. “I wish that I’d written it, ’cause it says a lot of things that I’d like to say,” the singer said. “I think it’s just a fun song actually, celebrating how country music has become more widespread and accepted by all types of people all over the country.”
The remaining 30 classic 90s country songs complete this list of remarkable and timeless tunes that define the decade!
- “I’m In a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why)” by Alabama
- “Anymore” by Travis Tritt
- “It Matters To Me” by Faith Hill
- “Life’s A Dance” by John Michael Montgomery
- “That’s As Close As I’ll Get to Lovin’ You” by Aaron Tippin
- “Bye Bye” by Jo Dee Messina
- “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” by Toby Keith
- “Pickup Man” by Joe Diffie
- “Indian Outlaw” by Tim McGraw
- “I Try to Think About Elvis” by Patty Loveless
- “Maybe It Was Memphis” by Pam Tillis
- “I Still Believe in You” by Vince Gill
- “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” by Shania Twain
- “Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)” by Travis Tritt
- “Meet In The Middle” by Diamond Rio
- “Better Class of Losers” by Randy Travis
- “Blame It On Your Heart” by Patty Loveless
- “She Said Yes” by Rhett Akins
- “A Little Past Little Rock” by Lee Ann Womack
- “It’s Your Love” by Tim McGraw
- “That Ain’t My Truck” by Rhett Akins
- “I Can Love You Like That” by John Michael Montgomery
- “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” by Terri Clark
- “Watermelon Crawl” by Tracy Byrd
- “Walking Away a Winner” by Kathy Mattea
- “Fast as You” by Dwight Yoakam
- “Wide Open Spaces” by Dixie Chicks
- “What Might Have Been” by Little Texas
- “Look Heart, No Hands” by Randy Travis
- “When I Said I Do” by Clint Black
From progressive bluegrass and classic honky-tonk to crossover pop hits and inspirational ballads, the 90s were an era of diverse sounds and styles in country music. The top 60 best 90s country songs that we’ve compiled showcase the incredible talent from this golden era, offering something for every fan.
We hope this list of timeless classics has inspired you to explore a new artist or revisit an old favorite. Country music will forever be remembered for its unique sound, infectious melodies, and captivating lyrics – always keeping us coming back for more!